Biodiversity and Marine Science
The research focus on biodiversity and marine science originated from the combination of the expert knowledge at the Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences (IBU) and the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM). The strength of the IBU relates to its research on functional, physiological, sensory and genetic adaptations to variations in environmental conditions. The ICBM is renowned for its interdisciplinary marine environmental focus on biogeochemistry, fluxes of matter and energy and the functional role of biodiversity in ecosystems. Biodiversity research deals with the adaptive capacity of organisms, including the basic genetic processes, the analysis of interactions and coexistence mechanisms among organisms, as well as changes in biodiversity and resulting implications for ecosystem functions. Using empirical and theoretical approaches, we study the evolutionary and ecological processes governing patterns of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and their dynamics in times of rapid global change. The synthesis of terrestrial and marine biodiversity research is a unique feature at our university, which is also reflected in the collaborative research project BEFmate of the universities Oldenburg (IBU, ICBM) and Göttingen.
A pronounced interdisciplinary approach characterizes the marine sciences in Oldenburg, combining biological, geochemical, physical and modeling studies. The systems analysis of the Wadden Sea, a model region for other coastal areas, has provided a unique baseline for coastal research in Oldenburg. In addition, researchers of the ICBM study deep sea and ocean ecology with the newly constructed research vessel “Sonne”, which is based in Wilhelmshaven. Particularly noteworthy is the Transregio SFB51 with its focus on the functional role of the marine Roseobacter bacteria, but also other projects that address the consequences of global environmental change.
Marine research is conducted at the university locations Oldenburg and Wilhelmshaven, the latter with 5 ICBM research groups. Several boats, a unique data logging facility in the Wadden Sea, and an outstanding infrastructure for chemical analytics, molecular biology and experimental environmental studies offer a unique research environment. We aim at a higher integration with extra-faculty research institutions; currently there are 4 joint professorships. In the future, cooperations with social-ecological research groups should be encouraged. In the long run, we aim at establishing a common regional research area in the Northwest, including the universities Bremen and Groningen (NL).